The Reign Of Winter
Hermann's Tales 13
After a restful, if almost too warm a night, we kitted up and went once more into the snowscape, heading for Whitehaven. In the early afternoon we came across an old ruined village. One that we later found out had been abandoned over 1400 years ago when the white witches first invaded this land.
The village was rubble for the most part, but one building did seem to have weathered the ages: the village church. Although it was venerated to the god of travelling (Benedictus did tell me his name at the time, but alas I did not remember it) it was in a very sorry state, but would be sufficient to shield us from the cruel winds this evening.
There were two monks trying, and failing, to tidy the place up. Benedictus tried talking to them, but they were abrupt and dismissive. Giving up on them we went into the church proper to speak to someone in charge. We failed to find anyone, but Sven suddenly reported he could hear children’s voices. He headed back into the main part of the church, whereupon Benedictus said he could hear them too.
We followed the sound of the voices until we got to the back of the church, where we found a locked cellar. Idrin opened the door, in his own inimicable way, allowing us access to the cellar. I cast a light spell on my spear, and a strength spell on myself, and led the way down.
We came to a cellar full of junk, with a suspicious mound in the middle of the floor. After a full investigation of the cellar we found a journal describing the last days of the village, where the clerics here had turned away from their gods and started to worship Baba Yaga, sacrificing the children in her name. By now we could all hear the children’s voices and were sure they were coming from a large mound of earth in the middle of the floor – presumably where they were buried.
Benedictus decided they needed a proper, sanctified burial, so Idrin and I dug the bodies out. As we neared the end of our task we were attacked by the two monks. They had undergone a terrible transformation when night fell, and were revealed to be horrendous undead beings. Idrin and I battled them to a standstill while Benedictus pulsed with the power of Sarenrae and shattered their ties to the mortal world.
After we had finished reburying the children and Benedictus had read a sermon to us, we settled for the night. I spent the last hour before sleep admiring my ring. It glistened so beautifully in the firelight it made my heart soar. Heaven help he who would dare to try take my precious from me. I knows they would want it – it is irresistible.
In the morning, after my normal meditations (and I am sure that meditating is helping me to master my magic – making sure I use it, and not it use me!) I once again cast my protective armour spell (which I tend to renew several times during the day) and we set off once again into the snow.
That afternoon we reached a small village that we intended to use to resupply, but as we passed a hut near the village we saw a freshly dead body lying in the snow in front of it. Kjell went over to investigate it whilst I once again cast my strength spell. I have noted that I tend to cast it far more often than it actually gets used, but after the affray with Orm and the wolves, where I spent most of the combat casting my enhancing spells, I have decided it is better to cast it and not need it than to need it and not cast it.
A nasty little blue Fey appeared and attacked Kjell, but pretty soon Idrin and I had it on the ropes. It was then that it’s buddy appeared and attacked Benedictus from behind. This one appeared to be a collection of twigs, so I thought I could put my Burning Hands spell to great use. As it happened, though, it turned out to be immune to fire. A bunch of twigs. Immune. The more I learn about Fey, the more I hate them.
Anyway, the Fey seemed to concentrate on attacking me rather than any of my companions, which allowed them to attack ferociously. The twig fey kept on dodging away from us and blasting us with cones of sharp twigs, but despite being knocked almost senseless by one of its attacks I survived long enough for Idrin’s axe to charge its inevitable price in flesh.
After Benedictus healed me up we went and talked to the peasants inside the hut. They all only talked Skald, but Benedictus did summarise things for me afterwards. It seemed her son, who was half Fey, had run away after she was shunned by the village. He came back today and his friends killed her new husband. She entreated us to go save her son.
I must admit I had misgivings about this: my desire to help the poor woman warred with my certain knowledge that all Fey are evil. I resolved to kill the Fey with him, and let nature take its course: if the Fey son attacked us, I would kill it. Just to be sure.
We reached the barn where her son was being held ‘hostage’, and before we went in I magically built my defences as high as I could manage. In addition to my normal magical armour spell I cast a shielding spell and also cast my magical strength enhancement. As it turned out, all my precautions were sorely needed.
We burst into the barn in the middle of an argument where the evil Fey was trying to get the son to attack us. He refused, and his brother Fey turned on him and struck him down! I could scarcely believe firstly that a Fey would not want to cause us harm, nor secondly that a Fey would attack and seriously injure another Fey!
We immediately attacked the evil Fey, but it was a very skilled opponent and seemed to just flow around our attacks. For some reason it singled me out and devoted all its attention to trying to separate me from my life. I can only guess that it saw my ring and jealously wanted to take it from my corpse.
I was sorely bruised and battered in that battle, despite all my protections, and was genuinely surprised to still be standing at its end (if only just standing). The peasant woman was overjoyed at us rescuing her son and gave us a nice meal and a place to sleep, and also gave us some really nice artwork, that Sven was convinced was worth about 500gp! (It will never cease to amaze me just how much money rich people will part with for a few pieces of scribbled-on paper).
Thus it was, fed and rested, that we went into the village to restock our foodstuffs.